Factsheets > Battery Recycling

Current Practices:
Currently rates of recycling for all battery types in the UK (except automotive batteries) are low, around 27.7% of batteries are recycled.

New regulations which came into force on the 5th May 2009 require recycling levels to rise to 45% of batteries placed on the market by 2016. This equates to over 500 million batteries, being recycled each year.


Environmental Effects:
Despite extensive trials there has never been any direct evidence that batteries have a negative impact on the environment.

However, batteries contain heavy metals which are hazardous, and there are concerns about the damage these metals can do to the environment if the batteries are disposed of incorrectly.



Processes For Recycling:
G & P Batteries is the UK’s leading waste battery collection and battery recycling specialist having opened the UK's first battery recycling centre.

They can recycle practically all battery types, and employ two different processes for extracting the different constituents.

 These processes are:

  1. Pyrometallurgy – where the batteries are put in to a furnace to extract some of the metals and burn off chemicals.
  2. Hydrometallurgy – where the contents of the batteries are dissolved in acid and the metals are recovered chemically.



Local Authority Collections:
16 local authorities currently operate battery collection schemes.

You may be able to recycle batteries at your local recycling centre. Previously, local authorities were discouraged from battery recycling, because batteries had to be sent to Europe to be recycled. The financial and environmental costs of the transport far outweighed the value, and the environmental benefits of recovering materials from the spent cells.



Interesting Facts:

  • 270 Million batteries are imported in to the UK each year
  • 30,000 tons of waste batteries are produced each year.
  • Auto motive batteries have a much higher recycling rate within the UK at 90%
  • The average UK household uses 21 battery’s a year
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